Vaccine maker Serum waives AstraZeneca shot indemnity for refugee programme, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Vaccine maker Serum waives AstraZeneca shot indemnity for refugee programmeThe Serum Institute of India (SII) has waived its protection from legal liabilities for any AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 shots it supplies to a global programme for refugees, a spokesperson for the GAVI vaccine alliance told Reuters on Wednesday.

The news comes days after Reuters reported that tens of millions of migrants may be denied COVID-19 vaccines from the vaccine-sharing programme COVAX because of concerns over who would be liable in the event of harmful side-effects.

Many COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers require that countries indemnify them for any adverse events suffered by individuals as a result of the vaccines. But where governments are not in control – in the case of refugees – that is not possible.

With the waiver, SII’s version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Covishield, can now be allocated to COVAX’s Humanitarian Buffer – a last-resort reserve of shots to be distributed by humanitarian groups, the GAVI representative said.

SII, the world’s biggest manufacturer of vaccines which also produces a version of Novavax’s COVID-19 shot, declined to comment.

AstraZeneca-Serum are currently the main suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX, but are set to be displaced by Pfizer and BioNTech at the start of 2022.

GAVI, a public-private partnership, was set up in 2000 to promote vaccination around the world. It operates COVAX together with the World Health Organization to supply COVID-19 shots to poorer nations. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio in Brussels and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Potter)

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